Nalini Paul: Untitled Poem

This is a creative piece of work inspired by Nalini's stay in Grez as part of the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship. Fancy following in her footprints? Find out more about the Fellowship.


Untitled Poem: Grez-sur-Loing, June 2017

Matter is the kingdom of the earth, which in time passes away; but the Spirit is the kingdom of Light’ (Bhagavad Gita 8.4).


Thunder cloaked itself around the
falling drops, defeating tears
with memories flying up from the canal
as butterflies, heralding your passing.
Angels greet you on your conveyance
from this world to the one that came before,
the one that flowed from air
and gave you room to stand, to run
as a toddler runs
before she learns to walk.
Such talk is not nonsense but a life,
and it is yours, whether you wish for it
or perish its truth.
The hot-grassy smell tugs the heart
or the head to a shaded river.
Logs, nails and glass
are yours for building a house.
You have no say over materials,
just the tools in your DNA
and the skills in your bones.
The gecko slips into cracks that riddle
the ruined temple,
the long-ago faded black-and-white photos
thumbed and damaged,
the thinly remembered voices of spice-scented
elders who sat round a fire.
They threw themselves in
but suffered no pain,
so drown yourself in the flames of tongues.
See in the edges of things,
their slippery surface,
the way memories play on the water
like light.

© Nalini Paul 2017